Monday, June 08, 2009
I was surprised the first time I saw cactus growing in the wild here in the southeast. Outside of cactus gardens, it's not the kind of plant you tend to find in the suburbs. But it's a native in most eastern states.
This is Opuntia humifusa. The upright tall version is Opuntia stricta. There are three other prickly pears in Alabama: Opuntia austrina, Opuntia pusilla, and Opuntia monacantha. But only humifusa is in Blount county, and it's the only member of the cactus family that's native here.
My book says it grows in sandstone outcrops, limestone glades, and open, thin-soiled woods.